Southwest Airlines Reports Third Quarter Results

Southwest Airlines reported its third quarter 2009 financial results with a net loss of $16 million. This compares to a net loss of $120 million for the third quarter 2008. Excluding special items, third quarter 2009 net income was $23 million compared to $69 million for the third quarter 2008. 

"To produce a profit, excluding special items, in this environment is a remarkable accomplishment," said Gary C. Kelly, chairman, president, and CEO.  "Sixty days ago, even a modest profit seemed unattainable. Despite the continuation of a depressed economy, our people fought hard, and have staged an impressive revenue recovery from where we were in June. Our third quarter 2009 unit revenues declined 2.2 percent from a year ago, a substantial improvement from the six percent year-over-year decline experienced in second quarter. It is a true testament to their Warrior Spirits during these most challenging of times."

"With respect to our third quarter cost performance, despite the significant year-over-year benefit of lower energy prices, we are still experiencing substantial cost pressures that demand continued discipline and focus on containing costs and maximizing productivity," Kelly continued. "Excluding fuel and special items, our unit costs increased 6.6 percent from the same period a year ago. With our planned fourth quarter year-over-year capacity reduction of eight percent, we anticipate cost pressures to continue and presently expect our fourth quarter 2009 unit costs, excluding fuel and special items, to exceed third quarter 2009's 7.11 cents,” Kelly said.